walk this way – the labyrinth and intentional spirituality #holyweek

IMG_8886-001God said to Moses: “Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.”Exodus 34:2

WALK THIS WAY: I can’t think of a better way to usher in a new month than by talking about the mystery and the beauty of a closer walk with God.

I often talk about faith as a journey, referring to my role as a follower of the way of Jesus, referencing our pilgrimage, and using Robert Frost’s image of the road less often traveled by. Lent certainly presents itself as an opportunity to engage the pathway and to walk with Jesus, making our way along the dusty road to Jerusalem.

To that end, and bringing the idea of journey to the forefront during Holy Week, pastor John Fawcett has offered a guided labyrinth walk here at WFPC, four evenings and then during the day Good Friday.

Walking the Labyrinth is a devotional exercise that helps to focus our hearts and minds on the presence of God. Like any tool, its value rests in the way it is used. I’d like to give a little background and then a personal testimony from my walk – with Rebekah – Tuesday evening.

John Fawcett explains the labyrinth
John Fawcett explains the labyrinth

BACKGROUND: A labyrinth is not a maze. There are no wrong turns; there is just one way in, and one way out. The walk is designed to facilitate contemplation, reflection, and concentration on the presence of God.

The labyrinth we used is made of canvas; but I have seen permanent structures inlaid into church floors, set in hard-scape in gardens, grown with different grasses in fields, and constructed from gravel and shrubbery. Personally, I’d love to see one as a permanent feature of our church campus, maybe three times the dimensions of the canvas in the sanctuary.

In historical Christianity, the labyrinth emerged in the middle ages, as an alternative to the time-consuming, expensive, and physically demanding pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The most famous example is found in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France, where the great rose window has the same dimensions as the labyrinth, and the juxtaposition of deliberate pilgrimage and colored light represents the relationship between our intentional spiritual journey and the transformational grace of God.

spending intentional time with God at WFPC
spending intentional time with God at WFPC

MY EXPERIENCE: That was, essentially, my experience at WFPC. Twelve of us entered the labyrinth, intentionally opening our hearts to the Spirit. I asked God to show something to me, and God – essentially – answered, “I am always showing you something; just de-clutter some this evening, and – for my sake – try to pay attention…!”

I watched people walking – for a moment or two – side by side, then break off in different directions, while still moving toward the center. I came close to the center, then moved all the out way to the perimeter; was I closer, or farther away? I saw people moving in opposite directions, while – in different places – simultaneously coming closer to the center of the labyrinth.

Personally, I felt closer to God during the journey than while I sat and prayed in the center of the labyrinth. It was true both coming in, and going out.

A few minutes before finally exiting, I stood still and looked at the entrance. “Is God in here? Or Is God out there?” and the answer was – is, “Yes.”

Then I looked just beyond the entrance to the labyrinth, and I saw that I would be moving back into the world exactly where the communion table stands. “This is the point where the story of the world intersects with the story of God,” I thought. “The bread and the cup; the invitation of Jesus to take this journey with him and not alone; the aspect of community, where my journey is also our journey…”

at the "center" of my most epic pilgrimage labyrinth
Sinai, and the “center” of my most epic pilgrimage labyrinth

There is more, of course, there always is. This journey is, first, always about the decision to move toward God, and to live in the light. That’s what this blog is all about – always – won’t you join me on this pilgrimage?

God said to Moses: “Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.”Exodus 34:2

In love, and because of love – DEREK

 

 

Live Like You Mean It The Life-Charged Life

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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